Small Business Institute, SBI

Small Business Institute® National Honors Won by UCF Students in Florida SBDC at UCF Program

Student Teams Assist Local Small Businesses with Award Winning Consulting

March 11, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Alan Bashy, Sabbithry Persad, and Scott Stambaugh won 1st place in the ‘Graduate Specialized’ category

Alan Bashy, Sabbithry Persad, and Scott Stambaugh won 1st place in the ‘Graduate Specialized’ category

Orlando, FL –    The Small Business Institute® (SBI®), the premier provider of professional development for those engaged in experiential student team consulting and related entrepreneurship education, research and activities and the link between business, education and community, recently announced that two (2) student teams from the University of Central Florida’s College of Business Administration (UCF CBA) were winners in its annual Project of the Year (POY) competition, taking 1st place in the 2019 ‘Graduate Specialized’ category and Honorable Mention in the 2019  ‘Graduate Consulting Project’ category, respectively.

In competition with MBA teams from across the country, the UCF CBA team of students on the strength of their consulting project for a local company, CE Avionics of Sanford, FL. The company, a leader in avionics repair and installation, received the team’s assistance in the form of an in-depth marketing plan which provided full industry and competitive analyses and an implementation plan for penetrating a new market, including pricing and promotional strategies.

The team of Shardeh Berry, Kasimu Greenidge and Hannah Gehring were awarded an Honorable Mention in the ‘Graduate Consulting Project’ category for their consulting work for Winter Springs, FL-based Tuskawilla Lawn Maintenance.  The team’s report included an outlook of current industry conditions, in-depth financial analysis, and recommendations for improving the organization’s systems and processes. Both teams worked with faculty advisor Dr. Carl Blencke, an instructor for the UCF CBA’s Department of Management, as part of a management class.

“Congratulations to our students who won this prestigious recognition,” said Ron Piccolo, PhD. and Galloway Professor and Chair of the Department of Management. “Our course offering utilizing the SBI® program is an important educational partnership between UCF and the FSBDC which contributes to the quality of the student educational experience at the University of Central Florida.”

Tuskawilla Lawn Maintenance earning Honorable mention at 2019 SBI Conference

Tuskawilla Lawn Maintenance earning Honorable mention at 2019 SBI Conference

“We are so pleased by the success achieved by these impressive students,” commented Eunice Choi, Regional Director for the FSBDC at UCF. “This is yet another avenue for the FSBDC at UCF and UCF itself to support small businesses in Central Florida while also introducing UCF students to the world of business consulting. It demonstrates UCF’s commitment to our community and to growing the local economy, and the FSBDC’s contribution to furthering UCF’s educational mission.”

The Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC) sponsors the Small Business Institute® in Central Florida and, in conjunction with the Department of Management at the UCF College of Business Administration, manages the SBI® program locally. It recruits and evaluates FSBDC clients for the program, lends FSBDC consultants as SBI® case supervisors and provides a range of guidance and support. The FSBDC is part of the UCF Office of Partnership and Innovation.

At the UCF College of Business Administration, SBI® is a graduate‐level elective course. Students enrolled in the class provide management consulting services to local small businesses. Each student team has direct contact with the client and produces a professional case report. The report is the ultimate product of the program and is tailored to each business. Case study reports have included market research, marketing plans, competitive analysis, advertising strategy, customer surveys, strategic plans, financial analysis, human resource manuals and business plans.

The SBI® Program is offered as a full-semester credit course through the CBA’s Department of Management. During the semester, the student teams oversaw and implemented extensive research and analysis to determine industry best practices; met regularly to understand company processes and procedures; and performed wide-ranging analysis of business and industry strategies and performance. As a result of their efforts, the students were able to provide a comprehensive analysis and set of recommendations.

SBI® is a nation‐wide program that provides high‐quality business assistance to companies in need while providing an extraordinary opportunity for university students to learn through field case studies. Each project is led and conducted by a group of students under the supervision of an SBI® Director or faculty member. The experience is often cited by students as being one of the most rewarding of their academic careers. In today’s collegiate environment there is a strong emphasis on experiential learning, and the SBI® has been at the forefront of this movement for over thirty years.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.48

SBI Student team received 2019

50 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC Consutlant Lisa Reineck with Toni B. Springer

Toni B. Springer CPA PA Accounting Firm Positioned for Expansion in 2019 With Assistance of FSBDC at UCF

DISC Behavioral Assessment Tool and FSBDC at UCF Assistance Important Contributors

February 18, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

                 Lisa Reineck, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4425 or Lisa.Reineck@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – People. It’s always about people. Finding good ones; then finding more. Helping them be as productive as possible. Creating a constructive company culture. Human resource management is one of the single largest challenges faced by owners of small-to-medium sized businesses. That’s what we see and hear at the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) every day and why we offer the DISC behavior assessment tool, implemented by a DISC-trained consultant, to help our clients improve work productivity, teamwork and communication.

As important as employee effectiveness and satisfaction are for all businesses, nowhere is it more important than in a service business. Toni Springer, owner and principal at Toni B. Springer CPA PA, recognized that fact. Her firm offers tax, accounting, and business consulting services to companies and individuals. They like to say, “We can service your accounting needs so you can run your business, not let your business run you.”

The key word here is “service.” High quality, personalized service is crucial to her company and Springer relies on her employees to deliver that service. So finding the right people and creating a positive work environment are crucial to her success. “I had found the right person for a key role the firm,” recalls Springer. “A colleague suggested I needed to clone her. His experience with DISC had been very positive and he recommended I see what it could tell me about this person’s personality and behavior profile for the next time I was hiring or if I needed to replace her.”

Springer contacted FSBDC at UCF consultant and DISC expert Lisa Reineck to implement the DISC tool. Focused on four behavioral traits — Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance – the tool draws a picture of an individual’s behaviors and preferences that can be used to enhance collaboration, cooperation and communications.

“Lisa did a great job and DISC had amazing consequences,” continued Springer. “I have very good people, who performed and collaborated better when they started recognizing each other’s styles and where the points of conflict existed. It brought peace back into the office. We all have better insights into each other’s behavioral traits which significantly increased the morale of everyone.”

“As a manager, DISC helped me see attributes in my employees I hadn’t recognized before which enabled me to place people where they best fit, would be most productive and most fulfilled,” Springer went on. “It may have even saved me from losing a valued employee. DISC revealed that one staff member was under immense stress from increased workloads. The results of the DISC report prompted me to make a quicker decision to hire additional staff. If I hadn’t engaged in DISC, I probably wouldn’t have made the decision to hire immediately and my ability to grow my business the way I wanted would have been hindered.”

“Increased productivity, improved efficiency, expanded employee effectiveness and the opportunity to make better decisions, that’s how DISC was very helpful for my firm,” concluded Springer. “We’re on the road to a terrific 2019 with the right people in the right roles, thanks to the help of the FSBDC.”

For information about Toni B. Springer CPA PA, please visit www.tbscpa.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Bill Payne of Drive Group, LLC with Maggie Incandela of the FSBDC at DSC

Drive Group Makes 2018 a Banner Year

Florida SBDC at Daytona State College Helps Ormond Beach, FL Digital Marketing Agency Grow

January 31, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

               Margaret Incandela, Consultant, Florida SBDC at DSC, 386.506.3579 or  Margaret.Incandela@daytonestate.edu

Orlando, FL – Going it alone is sometimes the curse of owning and running a small business. You have the idea and the passion and the drive but there are only so many hours in the day, and a small business person wears so many hats. Fortunately, the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) and its sub-center, the Florida SBDC at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), are there to help.

Bill Payne, owner and chief creative of Drive Group, found himself in just such a position early on in his company’s history. Drive Group is a branding and digital marketing agency in Ormond Beach, FL that gets results for its local and national clients by building websites that work as well as delivering top-of-the line SEO/SEM, messaging and branding.

Starting out, Payne was on his own and finding more than enough clients that wanted his assistance. “I won a terrific assignment,” recalls Payne “but it would have made it impossible for me to service my other clients. I realized I needed to hire someone if I wanted to grow my business. The FSBDC helped me find my first intern through Daytona State College. He worked out great, became an employee and is still with us. And that’s how it all started with the FSBDC.”

“Working with FSBDC has been fantastic,” says Payne today. “I can confidently say my business would not be where it is without them.” Taking advantage of their no-cost, expert business consulting, seminars and workshops, and now their market research services, Drive Group has thrived with the help of the FSBDC, led by consultant and FSBDC at DSC Assistant Director Maggie Incandela.

“From the beginning, they have helped me,“ Payne continued. “Back in 2013, they laid out a roadmap for how I could grow my business. How to hire. How to build processes and procedures that would allow us to scale. There has not been a question that I have had that there hasn’t been someone at the FSBDC with the knowledge and expertise I needed.”

In addition to benefiting from the consulting and other services of the FSBDC, Payne is a member of the FSBDC at DSC’s Growth XChange. Growth XChange is a facilitated, peer-to-peer coaching roundtable program where business owners engage in collaborative thinking and problem-solving, discussing vital business issues, opportunities and challenges with a goal of leading their companies to the second stage of growth.

“The Growth XChange has been hugely helpful. Everyone brings their expertise and experience, and we talk through our trials and tribulations,” comments Payne. “2018 has been a great year for us as a result of the FSBDC, including the Growth XChange group.”

“Since starting with the FSBDC, my company has grown and grown,” concluded Bill Payne. “We have more clients. And better clients. I now have 2 full time and 2 part-time team members. Revenues have grown by 400% over the period, and by 100% in just the last year. Working with the FSBDC has been transformational for my business. I cannot stress enough how much they have helped me.”

For information about Drive Group, please visit www.drivegroupllc.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Kern Halls of Ingenious Culinary Concepts with FSBDC at UCF Consultant Jairo Batista

Ingenious Culinary Concepts: Bringing Kids to the Table

School and Government Food Service Consultant Growing Again With Assistance from the FSBDC at UCF

January 24, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or HThayer@ucf.edu

                 Jairo Batista, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4853 or Jairo.Batista@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Hitting a bump in the road goes with the territory when you are a small business owner. The challenge for an entrepreneur is to know what to do when you hit that bump. When Kern Halls, founder and chief innovator of Ingenious Culinary Concepts, encountered a slowdown in the growth of his company, he decided his best bet was to seek assistance from the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Ingenious Culinary Concepts (ICC) core business is helping Kindergarten through grade 12 school food service programs be successful, both in terms of satisfying their student customers and minimizing, if not eliminating, expenses for their school system. Saving children from hunger translates to them doing better academically. And, because school lunch programs rely heavily on federal funding, if they are underutilized and don’t make the most of the available federal dollars, then the excess costs fall on the local school district.

Enter Kern Halls and Ingenious Culinary Concepts. Using extensive food service experience and expertise, the company brings a process-oriented approach to building a marketing strategy focused on atmosphere, operations, menu and food quality. The goal is single minded: to persuade students to eat in the cafeteria. It’s why their tag line is “We Bring your Customers to the Table.”

As with many small businesses however, ICC’s growth had plateaued. “We hit a little bump in revenues so I went to the FSBDC,” Halls recalls. “I’d heard they had great consultants and great knowledge that could help companies like mine get over hurdles like I was facing. And, Boy, was I right.”

Halls took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting; seminars and workshops; and market research resources. Working with FSBDC consultant Jairo Batista, who provided a website analysis and social media recommendations, Halls redesigned his marketing strategy and increased its effectiveness. Thanks to Batista, he also consulted with Steve South, Procurement Specialist and manager of the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of Central Florida (PTAC at UCF), who assisted him with pursuing government business certifications as well as identifying government contracting opportunities.

“Jairo and the FSBDC really have a command of marketing, with a real depth of understanding,” says Halls. “He made sure we got everything we needed to achieve growth for our company. And Steve opened our eyes to what’s out there. He showed us the systems available to us for finding government contracts, and he guided us through the certification process. Both have helped us win big contracts.”

“Since starting with the FSBDC, our revenues have doubled over last year,” Halls continued. “We wanted to spread our wings and diversify our revenues, and we have. We’ve grown fast and now are so busy we are hiring. Going forward, we’re looking for the FSBDC help us with a strategy to manage that growth, while staying lean but still adding clients and revenues.”

Kern Halls hit a bump in the road but he knew what to do; he got help in the form of assistance from the Florida SBDC and Florida PTAC at the University of Central Florida.

For information about Ingenious Culinary Concepts, please visit www.ingeniouscc.com .

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at UCF

Government Contracting Services offered by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of Central Florida provide high-value, confidential one-on-one consulting at no cost to help Florida businesses prepare, research, and bid on federal, state, and local government contracts. Since 1986, Florida PTAC client businesses statewide have won $8.3 billion in contract awards, helping to create and save 187,090 jobs. This PTAC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. For more information, please visit www.fptac.org.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Floating Bungalows with FSBDC at SSC Director Moses Ayiku

Floating Bungalows Named 2018 Seminole Success Story of the Year

Floating Tiny Home Manufacturer Growing Fast; FSBDC at SSC Providing Assistance

January 17, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

                 Moses Ayiku, Sub-Center Manager, FSBDC at SSC, 407.321.3495 or ayikum@seminolestate.edu

Orlando, FL – Great ideas for successful businesses can come from unexpected places. Cynthia and Warren Billings were surprised when their dream home project caught the attention of a huge audience. Then they had the good judgment to seek help with their new found opportunity from the Florida SBDC at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at the University of Central Florida.

The Billings are owners of Floating Bungalows LLC in Sanford, Florida, a manufacturer of luxurious, attractive and ground-breaking floating homes at the cutting edge of the Tiny House Movement. Their homes were recently featured on HGTV’s Tiny House Hunters television show.

Built on a thermal plastic hull, these approximately 500 sq. ft. fully-appointed floating homes are technologically advanced, handcrafted using only the finest components and materials, and held to exacting standards. The result? A luxury home on the water built for simplifying life with hardwood floors, granite counter tops, full size kitchens and bathrooms, not to mention the porch at the water’s edge. Some say it’s better than a boat and needs less maintenance.

“In 2016 we were building a floating bungalow for ourselves, with no thoughts of making it a business. It was going to be our personal home,” recalls Cynthia Billings. “We put a Facebook page up for our friends to follow our progress and suddenly we had 49,000 hits. We realized we needed to think this through differently. Enter Moses Ayiku and the FSBDC at Seminole State College.”

Ayiku, a consultant and the manager of the FSBDC at SSC, met with Billings and provided her with no-cost consulting, business training and market research support customized to the specific needs of Floating Bungalows. “I cannot say enough about how much the FSBDC has impacted our business,” Cynthia Billings says today. “Moses has always been there to help me think things through and provided consulting on all areas of the business. He’s provided facilitated strategy discussions, offered training around marketing and finance, and found me the FSBDC experts I needed for issues like media relations, digital marketing and target market analysis.”

It wasn’t a cookie cutter approach by the FSBDC,” Cynthia Billings continued. “It was a collaborative process in which I got what I needed to grow the company.”

And grow the company has. In 2017, after deciding to go into business for themselves, the Billings sought assistance from the FSBDC. They started slowly with one person working half time, built one bungalow outdoors and earned revenues of just over $200,000. As of 2018, they have grown to three full time employees, moved into a 6000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, built two bungalows and more than doubled revenues to over $500,000. Looking ahead in 2019, the company is currently building its 4th Floating Bungalow with the 5th set to begin production February 2019, and positioned to build 6 – 8 bungalows annually. It’s that kind of success that has earned Floating Bungalows recognition as the FSBDC at SSC’s 2108 Seminole Success Story of the Year.

“The FSBDC has been an amazing support for us. Their assistance is what has made it possible to grow our business.” concluded Cynthia Billings. ”The fact that we are now taking pre-orders/deposits is an example of the enthusiasm surrounding Floating Bungalows and the floating lifestyle trend.”

For information about Floating Bungalows, please visit www.floatingbungalows.com .

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Grumpy Bert's BBQ with FSBDC - Lake County Consultant Eddie Hill

Grumpy Bert’s BBQ: Food with Attitude in Lake County

Mobile Barbeque Kitchen Thriving Thanks to Assistance from the Florida SBDC at UCF – Lake County

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

                 Eddie Hill, Area Manager, FSBDC at UCF – Lake County, 352.429.2581 or eddie.hill@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Owning and operating a small business are not for the faint of heart; anyone who’s done it will tell you it’s hard work. On the other hand, the rewards are immense: being your own boss, reaping the rewards of your hard work directly, turning your passion into a career and thereby never working another day in your life.

Pat and Gary Sorensen will testify to both sides of the small business ownership equation. They started and now run Grumpy Bert’s BBQ, a mobile barbeque kitchen a/k/a food truck based in Lake County, Florida that proudly tells its many loyal customers: “Shut Up & Eat. Food with Attitude” and features menu items like “Rub Me The Wrong Way Ribs,” “Surly Smoked Brisket” and “Petulant Pulled Pork”, not to mention “Bad Tempered Beans” and “Cantankerous Corn Casserole.”

The Sorensens will also tell you not to go it alone when launching a business. Grumpy Bert’s isn’t their first small business and from the start they knew they wanted to get help from the Florida SBDC at UCF – Lake County. “We’ve never done a food service business before,” says Pat Sorensen. “We really weren’t sure what we were doing so we wanted to get information on how best to get started and I knew the FSBDC would have answers for us and they did.”

The Sorensens turned to Eddie Hill, Area Manager, and Cesar Gomez, program assistant, both in the FSBDC’s Lake County office, for assistance. They took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting and various business seminars, all of which set them up for success.

“From the beginning, the FSBDC has been a very positive experience. Eddie and Cesar have been so helpful,” continued Pat Sorensen. “They are like a one-stop shop where you have everything you need to run your business. They have so much information and so many people to help you be successful. It’s all in one place so you don’t have to go here for your business plan, and then over there for your marketing plan and then way over there for your financial plan. And when you have a question or just need to bounce ideas off an expert, there they are.”

“We knew it was going to be a lot of work and we were right,” says Gary Sorensen. “But it’s worth it. We start cooking and smoking the meat days in advance, and there’s a ton of prep work. But then there are the events, and they are easy and fun. Besides the many festivals and food truck rodeos we’ve done, we’ve catered an employee appreciation night for 700 at South Lake Hospital and worked for two weeks straight after Hurricane Irma serving the teams from the 200 FEMA trucks stationed here in Lake County.”

“if you’re considering starting a business., or if you’re further along than that and need help,” concluded Pat Sorensen, “the first thing you should do is go to the FSBDC. They have everything you need there, not just to start a business but also to help you to continue to grow. I would definitely recommend the FSBDC to any entrepreneur or business owner.”

For information about Grumpy Bert’s BBQ, please visit www.grumpybertsbbq.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

NAVA PET's Janel Young with Florida SBDC at UCF's Jill McLaughlin (L-R)

NAVA PETS: A Small Business Success Story Thanks to Maxie…And Others

Natural, Organic Pet Product Manufacturer Growing Fast with Assistance from the FSBDC at UCF

December 18, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu 

                 Jill McLaughlin, Consultant/Program Manager, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4856 or or Jill.McLaughlin@ucf.edu.

Orlando, FL – Every entrepreneur has a story, one that tells you where their new business idea came from and what ignited their passion to turn that idea into a going concern and then into a success. Most will also tell you that they couldn’t have done it alone; one of those is Janel Young, founder and CEO of NAVA PETS, a natural, organic pet food and products manufacturer.

Young has a wonderful story to tell. It begins with “Maxie”, her sweet and beloved little dog. Maxie was constantly beleaguered with irritated skin caused by food and skin allergies; she almost died from a severe reaction to traditional flea/tick prevention shampoo. And so Janel Young went to work to help her dog. In 2011, after months of trial and error, she successfully created an organic dry shampoo powder, natural treats and food to relieve Maxie’s skin condition and supplement her health and wellbeing!

When Young’s animal-loving friends saw Maxie’s transformation, they asked for the products to help their pets. It was then that Janel Young knew that she was on to something. Starting modestly, she began doing the rounds of the local farmers’ markets. She entered new business pitch competitions, and won! She also received national recognition as an entrepreneur, being named a Torey Burch Fellow and winning a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Award.

Young is quick to say that she hasn’t done it alone, though. She credits her team at NAVA PETS as well as her consultants at the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and many others. “My journey with the FSBDC began when I needed advisement on a huge retail contract,” recalls Young. “It was an important growth step for my company and I wanted their assistance.” Young proceeded to take advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost business consulting, workshops, PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) services and the Small Business Institute® program.

“I have been very fortunate to team with people like Jill McLaughlin and Steve South at the FSBDC.  (McLaughlin is an FSBDC consultant; South is a PTAC specialist). They have been like an extended family for NAVA PETS,” says Young. “They’ve really been in my corner in helping the business grow and providing me feedback in areas that need improvement.” Among the specific ways in which the FSBDC has helped NAVA PETS include developing a B2B, commercial sales strategy; looking at opportunities in international export markets; and branding, pricing and operations analysis and planning.

From its modest beginning at local farmers’ markets, NAVA PETS has come a long way. The company has grown to 10 employees; it is transitioning into a new, larger manufacturing facility; it is now being sold in Walmart, Lucky’s Market, and Albertson’s as well as on Amazon; and it has seen its revenues grow by over 2000% over the past 3 years. Maxie would be proud.

“Teaming up with the FSBDC is a phenomenal opportunity,” concluded Young. “I would highly recommend them. You can’t start and run a business without a team and the FSBDC is your extended team. It’s helped make NAVA PETS the success story it is today.”

For information about NAVA PETS, please visit https://navapets.com/ .

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC - Lake County Area Manager Eddie Hill with Citrus Hearing Clinic's Dr. Laura Bradley Pratesi, AuD

Citrus Hearing Clinic: Dedicated to Serving the Clermont Community

Audiology Practice Achieves Success With Assistance from the FSBDC at UCF – Lake County

December 11, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

                 Eddie Hill, Area Manager, FSBDC at UCF – Lake County, 352.429.2581 or eddie.hill@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Citrus Hearing Clinic is a small business located in Clermont, Florida whose owner and Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Laura Bradley Pratesi, prides herself on working in the community where she, her friends, and family live and socialize.

Founded by Dr. Pratesi, hearing impaired and a hearing aid user herself, Citrus Hearing Clinic aims to be a full-service audiology practice specializing in aural rehabilitation, balance therapy, pediatric testing, and patient education. They like to say, “We listen. You hear.”

“No one in the area was offering my services so I saw an underserved market in my own backyard,” Dr. Pratesi remarked. “Now I am working with local physicians, treating our shared patients and coordinating their care closely with those doctors, which is all important. Thanks to this community, I’ve become successful in my new office.”

Although enjoying a warm reception in Clermont, there were challenges faced by Dr. Pratesi on the road to opening her clinic. For many of those, she turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) Lake County office and its Area Manager and consultant Eddie Hill.

“I’m an expert in audiology but I’m not an expert in business,’ Dr. Pratesi recalls. “I know a lot of businesses don’t do well in the first few years. I didn’t want to be one of those; I wanted to be successful. For me it wasn’t just getting to practice audiology, it was also about learning to run a profitable business.”

And that’s what Dr. Pratesi did. She used the FSBDC’s market research services to conduct a risk analysis of the area. She attended the FSBDC’s online seminars to sharpen her financial and marketing skills. And she took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting by meeting with Eddie Hill.

“Eddie was very helpful in developing a business plan and getting it ready to take to a bank,” says Dr. Pratesi. “I’d gone to a couple of my own banks and been rejected. They wanted me to put up my home as collateral and that made me nervous. But Eddie helped me find a local bank that would make a business loan to me.”

“And that was important to me. I liked getting a loan from a bank and not a particular hearing aid manufacturer, like many audiology businesses do,” continued Dr. Pratesi. “It means I am able to work with all the different manufacturers and free to always choose the best product for my patients. As someone with a hearing impairment, I have been in my patients’ shoes. I really like that I can help make the best, most well-informed decisions about their hearing and balance health care.”

“The FSBDC has been a wonderful resource. My experience with them has been overwhelmingly positive,“ Dr. Pratesi concluded.  “They helped me find a local bank who made me a loan that helped get me started. It was important to me to be independently owned and operated and I was able to do that because of the FSBDC.”

For information about Citrus Hearing Clinic, please visit www.citrushearing.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

Bella Casa Staging & Redesign Growing with Assistance from Florida SBDC at Eastern Florida State College

December 4, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

                 Martin Duffy, Director, FSBDC at EFSC, 321.433.5573 or duffym@easternflorida.edu

Orlando, FL – “How do I take my business to the next level?” It’s a question that entrepreneurs and small business owners are asking constantly. Even as they meet the daily challenges of exceeding customer expectations while running a business, they need to be looking ahead and planning for the future. When they can do both – manage the day-to-day while looking ahead – small business owners can and will be successful. Especially with the help of the Florida SBDC.

Lisa Pelc is the owner and chief executive of Bella Casa Staging & Redesign in Melbourne, FL, a home staging and interior design company with experts in preparing homes – both occupied and vacant – for a faster, more profitable sale. As redesigners, the professionals at Bella Casa help families reconnect to each space in their home, so that it’s organized, beautiful and a perfect reflection of the family.

In 2017, Pelc found herself at a crossroads of sorts. She had started her business and it was growing, but she was asking herself some key questions: where next? How do I grow from here? That’s when she turned to Marty Duffy, the center director and consultant at the Florida SBDC at Eastern Florida State College (FSBDC at EFSC), a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at UCF.

“I came to the FSBDC for assistance because I was having some growing pains,” recalls Pelc. “I wanted to grow my business but wasn’t sure what to do and how to do it. So I reached out and found all of these different business courses and seminars, as well as no-cost, one-on-one consulting. Marty and the FSBDC team at Eastern Florida State College were extremely helpful in areas like strategy, inbound and outbound marketing, financial analysis as well as market research.”

“There is so much at the FSBDC that a small business needs,’” continued Pelc. “You don’t always know what you don’t know, as the saying goes. Working with the FSBDC has really shown me the opportunities that are available for my business. Meeting with Marty every month was like having a personal MBA professor dedicated to addressing my specific business needs. The time together was incredibly helpful and insightful.”

The list of Bella Casa’s business issues addressed with the help of the FSBDC at EFSC is long:  reviewing and then gaining an understanding of monthly and year-to-date financial results and profitability; conducting market research and building industry knowledge; identifying new market opportunities; and learning how to balance marketing and operations.

“The FSBDC has really guided me and helped me learn how, as an entrepreneur, to work on the business and not just in the business so it can grow and be more profitable every year,” concluded Pelc. “We’ve gone from a team of 2 to a company of 5, and our business has grown by 50% in just the last year. Marty and his team have been instrumental in helping me stay on task and provided a sense of accountability for myself and my company. When you tap into the resources that are at the FSBDC, the sky’s the limit for your business.”

For information about Bella Casa Staging & Redesign, please visit www.BellaCasaStagingAndRedesign.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

JBoFitness

JBoFitness Finds Success with Help from FSBDC at UCF – Osceola County

Consulting Services and Business Seminars Aids Growth of Group Personal Training Company in Kissimmee, FL

Orlando, FL – Owning and running a small business isn’t easy. In fact, there are some who say that it’s the toughest job you’ll ever have. At the same time, there are immense rewards in business ownership like professional independence, personal satisfaction and financial opportunity, not to mention fulfilling a dream. Fortunately, there are people and organizations who are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small business owners start, grow and succeed.

Johnny Bonilla had a dream to start and run his own business five years ago. And that’s what he has done and is doing. Today he is the founder and owner of JBoFitness in Kissimmee, FL, a group training facility that takes personal training and applies it in a group setting. Dedicated to building strength and conditioning, JBoFitness guides clients in a significant workout that takes the guesswork out of physical fitness and gets results.

Bonilla will be the first to tell you that he hasn’t done it alone. Along with his wife Raquel, he is assisted by the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC) of Osceola County and its Area Manager Rafael E. M. Pratts. Bonilla has taken advantage of all of the FSBDC’s core services: its no-cost consulting, business training and access to marketing databases.

“My experience with the FSBDC has been great,” says Bonilla. “I have been able to pick up vital information from their seminars. And the thing I particularly like is Rafael’s consulting. I never feel uncomfortable about reaching out to him. From helping with strategies for my business, to dealing with taxes, to answering important questions that I know are going to affect my business and help it grow, he’s always there to help.”

“A lot of people get intimidated when they have questions,” remarked Raquel Bonilla. “But the FSBDC isn’t that way. They are so welcoming, so friendly, so knowledgeable. It made us comfortable to be working with them. That’s why we have continued with them for so long. They make it easy.”

“Starting a business and running a business can be scary,” added Johnny Bonilla. “You don’t always know what to do.  To have the FSBDC there to give you ideas, to help you set goals, to hold you accountable, to have that support system is what stands out for me. In business you don’t have a lot of people to turn to but you always have the FSBDC there for you. I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

With the help of the FSBDC, Bonilla and JBoFitness have enjoyed impressive success. “Since starting with the FSBDC, we’ve had massive growth,” concluded Bonilla. “From our modest start in the courtyard of a local church in 2013, JBoFitness grew into a 1000 sq. ft. space and then in 2017 moved into its current 2750 sq. ft. training facility. Starting out, JBoFitness had 7 clients; today we serve approximately 150. It’s been a lot of work, but also a great ride and fun. We’re going to continue with the FSBDC. They have done a great job with us.”

For information about JBoFitness, please visit jbofitness.com.

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com